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The Technologists by Matthew Pearl
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's review
Mar 12, 12

Read in March, 2012

The Technologist has the earmarks of a swashbuckling page-turner; there are heros and heroines, villains, cliffhangers, and romance. What I enjoyed most is the historical context. This story of the beginning years of the M.I.T. incorporates the controversies and conflicts of the mid-19th century: classical education vs. technology, education for males only vs. female aspirations, business interests vs. rights of laborers, religion vs. Darwinism, inheritance and privilege vs. self-made success. Although the plot strains credulity at times, I decided it works as a melodrama in the style of Charles Dickens and fits with the literature written in the 19th century. Readers of previous books by Matthew Pearl will notice that at the end of chapter 42 the author adds a couple subtle references to his previous books that have a Boston connection. I was amused that this Harvard University graduate seems to take delight in trashing the reputation of the 19th century Harvard College and its students.

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